Victim Studies 004: Ted Bundy

on November 1, 2011 in Victim Studies, Victimology by

Ted Bundy, born Theodore Robert Cowell, was a serial killer who was charged with the murders of 3 women, confessed to over 36 murders, but is suspected of murdering over 100 women in the United States. It is believed that his serial series began in 1961, but he was never formally charged with this murder. His formal charges spanned from 1974 to 1978. The remains of many of his victims have yet to be discovered.

All of Bundy’s victims were known Caucasian women between the ages of 12 and their late 20s. They would typically be girls that were in college or university and from a middle class background. Bundy allegedly made an effort to not murder anyone who he knew personally, instead he saved his efforts for strangers which he lured into traps. The majority of his victims had brown, shoulder length hair which was parted in the middle. Many officers and officials theorized that Bundy’s victims were chosen because of their physical similarity to his first serious girlfriend who broke his heart in university. This theory is thought to have been proven wrong when Bundy explained in an interview that he only murdered the women he found attractive, that their attractiveness was all they had in common. Bundy just happened to think that young, petite, educated women with brown hair were the most attractive.

Most serial killers alter their methods of murder, envisioning the perfect murder, Bundy was no different. At the beginning of his serial series Bundy would sneak into a victim’s house and bludgeon them until they were unconscious or dead. He would sometimes sexually assault these victims with items found in the victim’s room, or something which he would bring with him. Bundy claimed that he started to murder his victims to prevent from being caught. The bludgeoning and sexual assault on his first victims left too much chance it could be traced to him.

As Bundy became more experienced he began to murder to possess the victim, as part of his adventure. To Bundy murder was the highest form of possession was murder and then rape. Although he typically beat his victims to death, he would also sometimes strangle or drown his victims. Over time Bundy began to choose which victims he preferred and organize where the victims would be murdered and then left. Bundy claimed that he began to use his ability to remain unseen and not remembered, as his features allowed him not be remembered by many people, to abduct his victims. Bundy would change his facial hair, cover identifiable marks and disguise himself as handicapped or as a police officer.

As Bundy began to perfect his method of murder, he would lure his victims in by asking for help while he had his arm in a sling, wore a false plaster cast on his leg or would limp on crutches. The women who felt compassion and offered their assistance would be his next victims. Bundy lured the women near his car to use a weapon of choice, usually a crowbar, to knock the women unconscious. Other times Bundy abducted victims while disguised as a firefighter or police officer, which allowed him to restrain his victims without too much protest. Bundy was known to have been physically attractive, well educated and charismatic, causing his victims to have a false sense of trust in him.

After being abducted his victims were typically sexually assaulted and then strangled. Bundy would drive his victims to an isolated location where he could later spend a large portion of time with the remains. He would either ask that the clothing be removed or he would remove the clothing from his victims. The clothing removal was not only for sexual purposes, but to ensure that there was less of a chance for trace evidence. With nearly every murder Bundy committed he would drink large amounts of alcohol in order to allow himself to do whatever he wished without a second thought. However, despite Bundy’s alleged progress towards the perfect murder, while he was a fugitive in Florida, he regressed back to murdering women in their sleep and leaving evidence which was later tied to him.

Subsequent to a victims’ death, Bundy would sometimes take a Polaroid picture. Bundy claimed that he worked so hard to commit the murders so he wanted to remember all the details of them. On many occasions Bundy would revisit where he had left his victims to engage in sexual activity. After Bundy had murdered some victims he was known to have applied makeup and washed their hair. Bundy claimed that because he spent so much time with the bodies they could be anything he wanted them to be. He would repeat this process until the bodies were too decomposed to engage with or wild animals began to eat the corpses. Bundy became so attached his victims that after his arrest he admitted to having decapitated at least 12 victims heads and kept four of the skulls in his home as trophies until he later had to dispose of them.

Bundy did not have a static way of disposing his victims. It seemed that he would do as he pleased at the time. The majority of his victims were found in a secluded area at Taylor Mountain. Some of the remains had been hidden or buried, while others were left with no attempt of being hidden. Many of the remains had been left intact, some had been cut up. During his confessions Bundy did not give an explanation for his differential treatment of the bodies. Bundy spent so much time with the bodies of his victims, he did not seem to care if or when they were found.

After his arrest in 1975, Bundy was made to take many psychiatric examinations. It was determined, at the time, that he was a sociopath. Sociopaths are thought to know and understand what is right and wrong, but it does not sway their decisions. Bundy claimed to not believe in guilt and even until the day he was executed would not take responsibility for his actions. Throughout his time in prison and court he blamed pornography, his mother, police, society, his grandfather, the media, his absent father figure and on some occasions he blamed his victims for looking too vulnerable.

Prior to his death Bundy began to give confessions concerning his murders. It is thought that he was confessing not because he felt any form of guilt, but because he wanted to avoid the death penalty for as long as possible. On January 24, 1989 Bundy was executed by electric chair. Although Bundy confessed to approximately 36 murders, police believe that he murdered more than 100 women during his serial series.

Sources:
Wikipedia: Ted Bundy
The Ted Bundy Story by Rachael Bell on TruTV.com
Who Was Ted Bundy by crazyhorsesghost on HubPages
Ted Bundy Bio on the Serial Killer Calendar
Ted Bundy on maamodt.asp.radford.edu

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